Single parent Santa-ing

Merry Christmas …… 2015.

This was the first Christmas that I’ve been alone, just me and the kids, on Christmas morning. I thought I’d be a little depressed, possibly cry, meltdown, or everything would go to shit if I realized I had labeled a present wrong, forgotten a gift, or even worse …. dropped a bunch of boxes down the stairs while setting everything up and suddenly shatter the innocence of my two believers……

I, of course, did fine. Why? Because I’ve always been Santa. Even during the married years ….. I was Santa. I made the lists, checked them twice, made more lists, decorated trees, picked out coordinated paper, shopped, cooked, baked, wrapped, made sure we had Xmas jammies, stuffed the stockings and took all the pictures.

I remember crying on the living room floor that first Christmas I was divorced and Aidan and Zach left in the early afternoon to be with their dad…..2006. It started the divorced parent tradition of me having them Xmas Eve and them going to dad’s around 11:30 Christmas Day. We’ve done it every year ….. for 10 years. I think I’ve cried every year for ten years ….. for various reasons ….. broken toys, not enough stuffing, break-ups, misunderstandings with in-laws or relatives, a car crash or two, not enough wine …..

This was the first year I didn’t. I have been so incredibly busy I don’t think I had time to even realize it was Christmas. I’ve been working weekends, juggling parties,  old friends and new friends and kids ….. shopping happened mostly on-line and only two days in stores. December has been a whirlwind of rush, rush, rush ….. and some amazingly wonderful moments of surprise.

Wrapping happened in two sessions …. both before my usual Christmas Eve wrapping fest because I had to work it. Silly me, I pulled an all-nighter on the 23rd …. and went into XMAS Eve on just two hours of sleep. By 3 o’clock I had to throw my hands up in the air and hope for the best. The presents and stockings were on stand-by in my closet.

I solo-anchored 3 hours of news, the kids went to my mom’s, and I snuck in a quick visit during my dinner break. My parents brought them back to my house around 10 and I got home at midnight. I waited about an hour to play Santa ….. and then it took about an hour to lug everything down and set it up round the tree. I poured a glass of wine ….. sat quietly on the couch for 20 minutes …… and didn’t cry.

At 4:30 a.m. the lights went on and the kids were all awake making noise in their room. In a groggy haze I looked at the time and proceeded to yell at them to shut the lights off and not bother me until at least 6:30. Aidan informed me Cameron had wet the bed …. which he does from time to time …. especially when mommy isn’t there to make sure he watches the fluid intake. (I had told multiple people to make sure he had a pull-up on but alas, it didn’t happen.) Aidan was awesome and was trying to take care of the situation without waking me up. We got everyone resettled until 6:15 at which point they woke me up again. 3 hours of sleep ….. I didn’t cry.

Next it was presents, Dunkin Donuts, Nerf gun wars, and a series of “can you help me open this” requests. A shower for Cameron, a shower for me, TV hair and make-up, and off to drop the kids. When I left the house it looked like Toys r us had exploded in my living room. ( I don’t do messy well….. this would normally be a breaking point.)

I didn’t cry.

A quick visit with family, work from 3-11:30, and Chinese food for dinner. (Call me crazy but I’ve never had Chinese on Xmas.) After work I cleaned up the Christmas chaos and shared a glass of wine with one of December’s surprises. (I think it was more like half a glass ….. I was too tired to keep lifting it.)

Today, December 26th …… at around 12:30 p.m. ….. after abut 7 hours of sleep …..I sat down in the dining room. I traded the bubbly sound of Britney Spears asking Santa to bring her Mr. Wonderful for the more sultry sound of Adele. I cried. Freaking Adele. Thanks for that.

So …… what did I learn this Christmas???? Christmas isn’t Christmas if you can’t sit down and enjoy a meal and the season with your family. I feel as if the holidays didn’t happen and I was just in survival/get through it mode. I’m off the next 3 days so I’m hoping I can enjoy the post holiday slow down.

I’m grateful for the little moments, the smiles on their faces and the hugs and the kisses. Cameron and Cassandra made gifts for everyone ….. they were precious and they were so excited to hand them out. Aidan helping out in the middle of the night so I could sleep …..priceless. The look on Zach’s face when he opened his drone ….. amazing. Clinking glasses and cheers-ing after the madness subsided ….. perfect ending.

I am Santa …. always have been and always will be …..and this year Santa had to do things a little differently. Christmas was Christmas for my 4 favorite people…… and that is all that matters.

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